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A Lesson Before Dying (1999)

PG-13 | | Drama | TV Movie 22 May 1999
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In the 1940s South, an African-American man is wrongly accused of the killing of a white store owner. In his defense, his white attorney equates him with a lowly hog, to indicate that he ... See full summary »

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(novel), (teleplay)
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Won 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 10 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Grant Wiggins
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Tante Lou
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Miss Emma
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Reverend Ambrose
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Vivian Baptiste (as Lisa Arrindell Anderson)
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Edna Guidry
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Sheriff Guidry
Stuart Culpepper ...
Henri Pichot
Patty Mack ...
Inez
Von Coulter ...
Farrell Jarreau
...
Clarence
Wynton Yates ...
Louis Washington
...
Irene
Cierra Meche ...
Estelle
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Storyline

In the 1940s South, an African-American man is wrongly accused of the killing of a white store owner. In his defense, his white attorney equates him with a lowly hog, to indicate that he didn't have the sense to know what he was doing. Nevertheless convicted, he is sentenced to die, but his godmother and the aunt of the local schoolteacher convince the schoolteacher to go to the convicted man's cell each day to try to reaffirm to him that he is not an animal but a man with dignity. Written by BOB STEBBINS <stebinsbob@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for a scene of violence, brief strong language and some sensuality | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

22 May 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Lesson Before Dying - Nachhilfestunden in der Todeszelle  »

Filming Locations:


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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The poem Grant reads to the children before Farrell comes to class with news from Sheriff Guidry the 2nd time is Edgar Allen Poe's "Annabel Lee." See more »

Goofs

Jefferson's execution date is right after Easter. Yet as the schoolchildren are going to the jail for a last visit with him, there are autumn leaves on the ground. See more »

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User Reviews

 
The impact of inhumanity and injustice, and the healing of the soul...
21 July 2001 | by (Santa Monica, CA) – See all my reviews

What a beautiful film this is! The injustice perpetrated in the South (and frequently elsewhere) against the black people in a society dominated by whites is its noble theme. But so much more. How the relationship between two men can bring strength to the one oppressed, comfort to his soul and dignity to his being has been brilliantly portrayed and performed. It's an inspiration to us all. And in that relationship there are lessons for both men. Don Cheadle as a sensitive black teacher and Phifer as the wronged prisoner are splendid and convincing. The rest of the cast is also fine. Although this is a movie to touch the heart deeply, even profoundly, it avoids striking any note of sentimentality. There are hard truths presented here...but with such humanity I was almost happy to face them.


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